The first ever sugar beet pricing platform has been launched this month, allowing British growers to manage and fix their own sugar beet prices. Charlotte Cunningham reports.

The pricing platform has been developed by NFU Sugar, with support from British Sugar, and has been delivered by the supply chain service company Czarnikow. It will enable growers to take advantage of new futures-based contracts agreed between NFU Sugar and British Sugar in its latest contract offer, and will be offered via Czarnikow’s client platform, Czapp.

The platform will initially be tested by a pilot group of growers as part of a year-long pilot programme, with the intention to then roll it out more widely across sugar beet contracts.

The pilot will allow growers and British Sugar to price beet independently of each other for the first time ever. This means growers can lock in prices when it is attractive to them and British Sugar will only have to pay the price that they have independently set.

NFU Sugar board chairman Michael Sly said: “This is a hugely exciting project and something we have been working hard on for a number of years, in response to calls from growers for more control over their sugar beet price.

“In the pilot, growers will be able to see the live value of the sugar they are growing in their crop for the first time ever and make independent pricing decisions based on that data.

“This can be a win-win for the industry. It will give growers flexibility to lock in attractive prices at a time to suit them and take the opportunity and risk the market offers them into their own hands.”

Innovative pricing structure

Jonathan Williams, director at Czarnikow, added: “We are delighted to be a part of this innovative pricing structure for UK growers.

“It has taken a lot of hard work and creative thinking from NFU Sugar and British Sugar to allow us to launch the project this month and we are confident growers and British Sugar will both benefit by taking direct control of their own price management. Independent pricing is here to stay, and it’s only going to increase in volume and sophistication in future years.”